Head to Kutta in Coorg this monsoon
This monsoon, get a slice of Coorg in monsoons and head to Kutta – a destination that is a mix of forests and plantations. A border town between Karnataka and Kerala, Kutta is part of Coorg, nestled deep inside the Western Ghats at the southern end of the coffee country. Yet for the usual visitors to Coorg in monsoons, it rarely fits into their tourist itinerary, leaving it a virtually unexplored territory.
I have been to Coorg in monsoons many times but Kutta has always been special to me. Serendipity had brought me here on my first trip to Coorg and it had been my first introduction to the coffee country.
Read : Scanned memories of Coorg
A decade ago, we were driving from Mysore and had decided to take the longer route through the Nagarhole forest to reach Madikeri. Kutta greeted us on the way and we fell so much in love with the pretty nondescript town that we decided not to head any further.
Years later I find myself on the same road. The Nagarhole forests look a little refreshed from the recent showers. We slow down to take in the scenery. A crested serpent eagle surveys the jungle for its prey. We look around to see if there is a leopard or a tiger lurking in the woods. Herds of spotted deer cross the roads, some looking at us a bit warily, wondering if they should follow the lead of the others or wait. The sky is a magical blue but in a moment it turns grey as menacing rain clouds threaten to pour out their burden. Just then an elephant rips apart the bamboo shoots by the road and disappears into the wilds. The forests are silent; not even a single bird call is in the air as we drive out into Kutta.
The landscape changes the moment we leave the gates of Nagarhole. Coorg in monsoons is a magical experience. The bamboo is replaced by tall silver oaks as coffee plantations surround you. However there is an element of wildness in the terrain. It rains just as I enter Kutta. The wet smell of the earth, the intoxicating fragrance of the coffee blossoms, sparkling little stars in the mist, the frogs croaking to the rain – Kutta welcomes me in its traditional manner. The rains stop and we wander around in the plantation. The covers come off and the coffee beans that were left to dry form a carpet of brown. The sun peeps out and the birds come out in the open to dry themselves.
Waterfalls beckon us and we head to Irpu, located in the Brahmagiri Range. Also known as the Lakshmana Tirtha Falls, the cascade that tumbles down takes the name from a tributary of the Kaveri. The path takes us through a paddy field that leads into a dense forest where we can see fresh elephant dung.
In India, every part of nature has a mythical connection, especially to the epics. And as the name goes, there is a story dated back to the Ramayan days. While Rama and Lakshman were searching for Sita in the hills, Lakshman quenched Rama’s thirst by darting an arrow into the Brahmangiri Hills. The river that flowed down formed the waterfalls. A famous Siva temple, the Rameshwara Temple stands on the banks of the Lakshmana Tirtha River, en route to the Falls. The recent rains have added some fury to the cascading waters. The rocks are a bit slippery but we leave as some tourists start pouring in.
The sky is a fusion of golden brown and crimson red as I head out on another wild encounter. We cross the border into Kerala to enter the Tholpetty wildlife sanctuary in Wayanad. Just as our jeep meanders through the safari roads, we hear that a tiger has been sighted. We follow the lead, but the big cat eludes us.
We see the Malabar squirrel jumping across trees, a few langurs but the tiger seems to have escaped into the forests. The jungles; however, are lit by a beautiful light and I am enjoying the company of birds. Malabar parakeets screech. A white belied woodpecker, one of the largest of its kind willingly poses for us as I spot raptors like crested serpent eagle and oriental honey buzzard.
I return to Kutta just as the sun sets. The crimson haze is all around as the silhouettes of the silver oak stand out in the twilight. The owls hoot welcoming the night. Another day in the wild ends as the rains tumble down again .